Dominic Smith Showed Signs Of Life
In the bottom of the ninth in the second game of the doubleheader, Dominic Smith came up as a pinch hitter with one out. St. Louis Cardinals closer Giovanny Gallegos had Smith right where he wanted him with a 2-2 count. If you’ve been watching the New York Mets and Smith all season, you expected a strike out.
As noted in the first half of the doubleheader by Keith Hernandez, Smith has been expanding his zone all season. Chiefly, it has been at pitches up in the zone. However, we have also seen it on pitches down-and-in. For some reason, Smith just can’t seem to lay off those breaking pitches breaking in off the plate.
Gallegos reared back and busted Smith in, and Smith laid off of it. Full count. Then, Gallegos made a very smart pitch. He threw that slider low-and-in. Smith has struck out on that pitch all year. Except, this time, Smith didn’t. He spit on the pitch, and he took his walk.
Right there, more than anything, was the biggest sign Smith might just be breaking out of his season long slump.
We had thought that what was going to happen with Smith after his four hit game against the Philadelphia Phillies. However, Smith went right back into his funk. After that game, he was 1-for-22 with six strikeouts. It was at the point where Buck Showalter was suggesting Mark Canha needed to get work at first base.
In the first half of the doubleheader, Smith looked much like the Smith of old. In his first at-bat, he got a rally started with a lead-off single. In the third, he hit an RBI double. Smith would finish the game 2-for-4 with a run, double, and RBI. Importantly, it was his first start since the beginning of the month where he did not strike out.
With Smith, we know what he can do. We’ve seen when he’s healthy, he hits. He needs to just get on track, and he hasn’t so far this season. As noted, part of the reason is the Mets initial need to see what they have in Robinson Cano leading to a season’s worth of disjointed playing time.
Case-in-point, after Smith had his four hit game, he did not start the ensuing game. Hopefully, the Mets are able to recognize how Smith has finally made the adjustments he needed, appears locked in, and is ready to contribute like we all know he can.